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Advising Initiative FAQs

In order to meet MSU’s 2030 goal of an 86% graduation rate with no opportunity gaps as articulated in the Strategic Plan, we must reform aspects of the undergraduate experience to increase retention. Given academic advising’s central role in student success, improving our academic advising system to better support both our advisors and students is paramount.

Academic advising as it exists at MSU works very well for many students, but our current system favors those who know how to navigate it. The overarching goal of the university advising initiative is to create an academic advising experience at MSU that properly supports and empowers every student we admit until they graduate.

We are building a collaborative model where students can receive specific exploratory resources to support their journey into an appropriate major. Academic advisors in the colleges will continue advising in the same capacity they always have. New advisors working in the new University Advising unit will work collaboratively with college advisors as students find their pathway to major selection and graduation.
Yes. University advising will be working with Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs and college advising to inform the work of creating promotional pathways, increasing salaries, and considering centralized and decentralized advising functions such as hiring and on-boarding and considering ways we can be more coordinative and mutually supportive with those efforts.

Ultimately, the initiative is designed to increase overall advising capacity, improve advising for students without a major, provide lighter advising caseloads, and increase opportunities for both current and new advisors. Our framework for implementation and the working groups are designed to address the ideas and suggestions raised across campus as well as address the needs identified in our landscape of advising study. The following is a list of opportunities this initiative will focus on:

  • Even advising capacity for majors and minors
  • Flexibility as a strength in recruiting students
  • MSU’s message of value in the variety of majors to concurrent enrollment programs
  • Creating lower barriers to entry for students when seeking help
  • Making university requirements more flexible to allow for exploration of majors (meta major focused)
  • Cross-college knowledge of majors
  • A University Advising effort to explore different paths early for students
  • Providing advisors more time to advise more fully by addressing capacity across campus

This initiative involves the hire of many more advisors than previous plans. College advisors are also extensively involved in the development of how we move forward to ensure that students can move between colleges and majors successfully. Additionally, one of the outcomes of the working groups is to create onboarding, ongoing training, and a structure of communication (e.g., regular meetings) between units, so advisors are knowledgeable of curriculums and programs for their interest areas. Advisors in units will be engaging with one another a lot more than currently.

The new Assistant Dean for University Advising will have oversight over the centralized advising team that reports to the Dean of Undergraduate Students. This individual will also coordinate university-wide efforts in collaboration with the University Advising Leads, the Advising Initiative work groups and other key stakeholders.

Both the personnel and professional leadership development group welcome ideas for this recruitment. We generally use Higher Ed and HERC for job postings with specific postings to various affinity groups. We recruit via all the international, national and regional advising and student affairs associations along with sharing through various listservs and social media avenues we have access to through our professional organizations.

There are and will be representatives from colleges present in our searches as well. Additionally, a campus-wide advising campaign is being discussed to help better coordinate open advising positions.

The plan is for additional advisors to be hired both centrally and within colleges in a strategic manner to level advising caseloads based on both major and minor advising.
With additional advisors and resources for advising, MSU aims for increased capacity to coordinate and engage campus advising partners in areas like writing, financial aid, admissions, college and APUE student support programs, international studies, and counseling and psychological services.

Coordinated and wrap-around services that support all of students’ individual and collective needs are part of MSU’s broader plans for student success.
It is possible that the college role would remain as is, but this is something that will be determined with the colleges as part of the working groups’ processes.
There are standard salary increases being applied through regular merit and equity raises. A landscape study is being done to review salaries across campus and discussions are being had around minimum salary levels. As part of this initiative, working groups will be reviewing findings from this study, analyzing data, and proposing potential solutions around these efforts.

Executive leadership has been very explicit about this: this initiative is about investing in advising and we will ensure that investment happens at all levels. We will do this by working with colleges to support their initiatives around advising. We will ensure that any changes in advising support the work to meet the overarching needs of our students and their success.

In some cases, this might mean realigning some college initiatives or redirecting some college advising resources and activities. This will be monitored so that funding is used for the positions and resources needed.

Yes. We have been engaging the advising community through our landscape study. Each college was met with to gather feedback and input. We will continue to create opportunities for feedback and input during the working group phase of this initiative. Executive leadership will be relying on the expertise of advisors and advising leadership to carry out the details of this work. As details emerge from the working groups, they will be shared through college representatives and through University Advising channels (e.g., this website).

We have formed a communication working group that is creating the tools, structures and processes for our initiative to have more effective and efficient communication. This effort includes this website, events like the Advising Summit, and updates in APUE’s Student Success Newsletter.
Yes, there will be frequent opportunities for advisors to engage in this project through surveys, meetings and conversations with them directly in their colleges, town halls, and through their advising leads on each of the working committees. Continue to check our website for more information on where and when these events and/or conversations are being had.
Engagement with ASAC, advisors, and coordination with university groups focused on advisors and the specialist experience can be sites for working through differing views. All feedback is welcomed, as it will help us be more effective in our practices.